26C Rounding Up

The 26C is a fine sailing boat. In light and medium winds it is fast and well behaved. As the wind increases, the boat heels more. The shape of the hull when heeled increases the weatherhelm. At some point this force overpowers the rudder and the skipper is unable to prevent the boat from rounding up into the wind. All boats have this tendency but on the Mac 26C it is much stronger.

In all boats the goal is to decrease this tendency. On a 26C the tendency is stronger so the need to take preventative action is more important. Learning what to do increases your skill level and gives a more enjoyable sail.

There are several ways to reduce the rounding tendencies. Remember that the rounding up forces are caused by excessive heeling.

  • 1. Change to small jib.
  • 2. Reefing the main.
  • 3. Adjust halyard tension, outhaul tension
  • 4. Tighten backstay tension
  • 5. Learn to sail closer to the wind without loosing speed
  • 6. Do the rudder mod.

  • Here is one persons methods. With 4 people on board we can hold the genoa up to 15 knots true wind speed. With the 100% jib up we can keep the boat flat up to 20 to 25 knots. To further de-power the boat we next move the traveler down. Then ease the mainsheet tension until there is a slight bulge in the front of the sail near the luff. Next we increase the outhaul tension to flatten the lower main. Then we increase the backstay tension to flatten the middle main. We also increase the cunningham. At about 25 knots we put in a single reef (25%)

    In order to do all of this sucessfully you need to understand what your sails should look like and how the different controls affect their shape. A sail has a natural tendency to become fuller and have the draft further aft as the wind increases. This is the opposite of what is desireable. What is wanted is for the sail to become flatter with the draft further forward as the wind increases. To counteract this tendency there are several things that can be done.

    1. Tighter halyard tension on both the jib and the main will move the draft forward.
    2. Using a traveler to move the boom out without it going up will reduce weatherhelm and healing.
    3. Using a boom vang will do the same as the traveler.
    4. Bending the mast by using an adjustable back stay makes the sail flatter.
    5. Bending the mast with the backstay also tightens the forestay which flattens the jib.
    6. Tightening the outhaul on the boom makes the sail flatter.

    All these things working together makes the boat heal less and sail faster with better control.